Addiction Prevention Coalition holds first panel discussion of 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Addiction Prevention Coalition says drug use is of epic proportions in communities across Alabama. Leaders in the Coalition say addiction flourishes in darkness, and that is why they want to bring the epidemic to light.

Early Wednesday morning, dozens of parents, educators and social workers from the Spain Park area attended the first of the four 2016 panel discussions. The breakfast was held at Saint Marks Evangelist Catholic Church.

Dalton Smith and Drew Callner are both young recovering addicts who shared their stories.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from. I was IV heroin, that was my thing,” said Smith.

Smith attended Spain Park High School where he started drinking at 12-years-old. He is 22-years-old today. Callner started using marijuana when he was 15-years-old while he was attending a school in Seattle, Washington. Today he is 32-years-old and said 15 years of his life were wasted because of drugs.

“All the drugs are part of my story, but heroin specifically (impacted my life).  Because of the epidemic here, it’s just really important for me to get out there and share my knowledge,” Callner said.

Callner also said that parents should find a balance between being the “cool parent” and the super strict parents. Smith said parents should build trust and set boundaries with their children.

“If I can get across to one person today, I’ve done my job,” said Smith.

Both said it does not matter how deep you are into an addiction, there is always a way out.

For more information about the next panel discussion and general literature visit You can also reach the Coalition by phone at 205-874-8498.

Copyright 2016 WIAT CBS 42

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